A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?
“Be careful what you wish for!” the crone cautioned.
“It’s OK,” I told her. “I got it.”
“Hold out your hand then,” and she smacked me hard across the back of my hand with her wand.
“Hey, that hurts,” I protested.
As she faded away she smiled, an awful smile, with fetid breath and twisted incisors. “Go home and start writing.” She instructed.
By the time I got back to my flat, the red welt on the back of my hand had almost faded. I pushed everything off the top of my small desk and set the typewriter there. I grabbed a bottle of cheap whiskey, and half a pack of Lucky Strikes.
Rolling a sheet of paper around the platen, I placed my fingers on the home keys and waited. Waited for the muse. The paper stared back, challenging me. I tried to tempt my inspiration with booze and nicotine but nothing worked and eventually I passed out, there at the desk.
When I woke the impressions of my typewriter keys were deep in my forehead and there were 300 sheets of double spaced material stacked neatly on the corner of the desk. I didn’t even bother to read it. I knew it was good. The old witch had assured me of this. I lifted the stack of paper and slid it into an envelope. I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen. I wrote my name, address, and phone number on the paper and slid it in on top of the manuscript.
I addressed the envelope to Kemberling and Cotswold Publishing and drove to the post office, stopping to pick up breakfast on the way.
And so it begins…
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